Hey, you! Remember that time you found that list of super inspirational memes on the internet, shared it on Facebook, turned off your computer, and went outside and changed your life and the world around you? No? How about that time you watched that video of a terminally-ill father walking his daughter down the aisle, and that made you think about how short life is, so you dropped everything and followed your dreams? You don’t remember that? Oh! What about the time you read that article about current, legal practices which undermine our democracy, which totally infuriated you, so you organized like-minded members of your community and staged a protest in your city?…
YEAH, I DON’T REMEMBER ANY OF THAT SHIT EITHER, Y’DAMN ROBOTS!
Every single day, my Facebook feed is filled with a dozen extreme and motivational stories. Guy loses his leg, runs a marathon 6 weeks later; lady in wheelchair doing pullups with the wheelchair dangling off of her legs with the quote “what’s your excuse?”; endless photos of a beautiful nature scene and some bullshit quote by Steve Jobs about the key to success; a list of how to make the very best of your 20’s or 30’s, how to save all your money and be rich, how to become self motivated and change the whole world, and on and on and on and on.
And personally, I eat this shit right UP. When I see one of these posts, I always click on it. Sometimes I, too, share it on social media – if it’s a really good one. I’ve accumulated countless hours of looking at this stuff. If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve done the same.
It seems to me that this type of super motivational shit is more prevalent than ever. If you’re online, especially social media, you literally can’t escape it. So, my question is, why, with all this motivational bullshit in our faces all the time, are we all not out changing our lives and the world? Why aren’t we all donating our time to charities, starting Fortune 500 companies from our garage, getting involved in political movements? Why aren’t we all doing what we love? Why are we wasting even a minute of our lives?
Before I go any further, I’d like to point out how right now would be a great time to turn this post into one exactly like those to which I’m referring, but that’s not my goddamn point. Aren’t you listening?
Here’s my point: This instant-gratification, life-changing, 3-minute-video motivational bullshit is not going to change anything about you. As you may know, we’re kind of super fucking lazy. We are an extremely connected group of disconnected people. We look at all this feel-good bullshit online and we feel like better people afterwards. That’s why we keep coming back. It feels great to care about something for a minute, but stay at a safe enough distance to know you won’t be affected. For a split second there, you think to yourself, “man, I want to do something like this!” or, “I want to get involved in this.” That feels great, you had a strong emotional response, and you realize that you’re a pretty good person. Then you click on the next video of cats chasing a laser, which also feels good in a slightly different way.
It’s just much easier to read an article about how to live the life you want to live, imagine yourself doing that for a couple minutes, then going about your day as usual, as opposed to getting off your ass and actually getting involved in something rewarding. It’s far easier to watch people helping other people than to help other people yourself. Now, I’m sure some of you are actually involved in some things you care about. You work to better yourself. You vote. Some of you might actually look at motivational internet garbage and go outside and do something meaningful, hell, I don’t know your life. I’m speaking in generalities here, people.
I just find it very interesting how motivated we are to search for the motivation to be the highly motivated people we wish we were.
So, if you want to know what I suggest you do to really change your life and become that awesome person you want to be, here it goes: How the fuck should I know? We’re all different. We’re all motivated in different ways. All I know is thinking about doing something is nice, but it’s not the same as doing something. We should probably try to substitute the good feelings we get from looking at this internet garbage with the good feelings we get from actually doing stuff. Myself included.
Thanks for reading my bullshit, now leave me alone, I still have, like, half of the entire series of X-Files to get through on Netflix, and I’ve just become highly motivated to get to work on solving this problem.